I’m at the Galleface hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital, and halfway through my latest work trip. Various meetings and seminars brought me out here, but I was lucky enough yesterday to be taken “up country” to visit some of CARE Sri Lanka’s project work in the country’s tea plantations.
I have stayed at the Galleface before, and find myself again fascinated by its heritage. Built in the 1860’s there are many original features, including one of the doormen, called Kuttan, who is one of the longest serving employees – possibly in the world. The first car Prince Philip bought sits in the hotel’s museum. The Prince was a young midshipman serving in the Royal Navy in what was known then as Ceylon, in 1940, at the time he bought the car, a 1935 model Standard Nine. The car cost £12, which is about the price you’ll pay in new money for a meal for 2 in the hotel’s restaurant, 71 years later.
The signage here is particularly good. Inside the bathrooms: “Guests are asked not to bathe outside the bathroom”, and at the top of the stairs: “Galleface respects your decision not to smoke in the hotel. Why not take the healthy option of the stairs, it’s only two floors down.” Continue reading